Guest Post

Independent Supporters' Association is open for business

Guest Post by Paul Christmas

I am very pleased to inform that the West Ham United Independent Supporters’ Association website is now up and running at http://www.whuisa.org
Please visit the site and join as soon as you can. At present we have over 200 members.

We’d really like to get as many people as possible involved because numbers will give us credibility. You can join until the end of next season for £3 or until the end of next season for a fiver and we’d love to see as many people on board as possible. U18s can join for free.

For those who are new to this, we want to establish a democratic, transparent, independent, non club owned voice for fans to give honest input into the way things are run. The points of view will come from you the fans to be put forward by WHUISA to the club / stadium operators / Met Police / Newham Council / whoever and we will report back to you.

The aim is to eventually create a formal channel of communication that really represents the fans but that doesn’t rely of the patronage of the Board. We had the SAB but the general consensus was that it did not do the job we hoped it would. If you depend on the club management for your position on any fans organisation you can’t be truly honest. The club will always have the option to exclude you.

We want to be positive in trying to change things to make supporting West Ham a more positive experience. We want to be inclusive and constructive but we won’t shy away from telling the difficult truth if we have to.

Until now West Ham was the only PL club that did not have a supporters association or Trust. We have met with supporters’ groups from other clubs through the FSF and they have had amazing results. We will strive to and can have a similar effect.

There’s been an interim committee set up but once we are established we’ll be looking to get many more people on board. If you want to get stuck in sooner let us know at enquiries@whuisa.org.

The more we have, the stronger our voice will be.

Here’s to a happier new year both on and off the pitch !!!

Always West Ham United.

Paul Christmas
Joint Chair
WHUISA

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Opposition Q & A

Opposition Q&A with the Swans

Hope you are having a good Christmas day. The first team have been training today at Rush Green in their preparation for their 230 mile journey to Wales to face Swansea on Boxing day. It is second year running that the loyal West Ham away army have had to make a long journey the day after Christmas. Last year it was Villa Park to play the doomed Aston Villa. That ended in a 1-1 draw through the help of Andre’s brother Jordon who picked up man of the match and earned Villa a point through his penalty.

Just before Christmas I spoke to Swansea fan Steven Carroll from SOS Fanzine to ask him some questions

1) What are your expectations for Swansea this season? Will you avoid relegation?
After finishing 12th last season and a very poor summer which included selling Andre Ayew and Ashley Williams and uninspiring signings I was expecting a struggle. We’ve performed worse than I thought so far and if I was a gambling man I’d say we are going down, a new manager and key signings in January are needed to save the season.

2) Which three teams do you think will suffer relegation and who will lift the title this season?
Hull are likely to drop, they also had a bad summer in terms of signings and look a poor side while Sunderland could well come unstuck this time, surely they can’t keep pulling a rabbit out of the hat in April and May. As for the other place I think it’ll be us unfortunately, we are a poor side, especially at the back

For the title I said Man City at the start but you have to say Chelsea are favourites now. They’re playing brilliantly and defensively are a class above the rest.

3) How do you rate West Ham’s manager Slaven Bilic as a manager?
I like Bilic, I remember being impressed by him when he was Croatia manager and he did an excellent job last season. This season has been tougher so I’m sure he’s made mistakes but it’ll probably make him a better manager.

4) What league position can West Ham realistically achieve this season?
It’s so tight in mid table that top half is still in reach. If your top players stay fit and on form it could be in reach but at the moment I’d probably say around 12th looks more likely.

*5) If you could have any current West Ham player in your first team who would you choose and why? Winston Reid because we are shocking at centre half and he would make the biggest difference. The other one would be Antonio as we’re poor out wide and he chips in with a few goals which is always handy.

6) Which Swans player will be key to your hopes this season?*
Gylfi Sigurdsson without a doubt. He’s our best player by a mile, the only player in the squad who can whip a good ball into the box. At Set pieces he’s second to none and chips in with goals. We’d be dead and buried without him.

7) What is Swansea’s achilles heel?
Where will they need to improve on the second half of the season? Defensively we’ve let in 37 in 17 games. Carry on like that and we’re doomed. Bob Bradley has tried numerous partnerships and none have worked. We need a commanding centre halfs and two new full backs ideally. Can’t see it happening though.

8) What is your view of Andre Ayew? Was it a good move for West Ham? Will he come good?
Ayew was great for us, scored12 in a poor side last year. Only issue is where is his best position. We played him mainly wide right but he doesn’t offer much width, up front he was decent but he wasn’t much of a presence there, he didn’t do much in behind a striker either so it’s a tricky one. I think it’s a good signing if you can find out his best position, he’s got a good left foot on him and is great in the air for someone if his height.

9) How do you expect Swansea to setup against West Ham on Monday/ Team/formation prediction?
Probably 4-2-3-1 but Bradley does tinker so can never be certain. It’ll probably be Fabianski, Rangel, Amat, mawson, Taylor, Britton, Fulton, Barrow, Sigurdsson, Routledge, Llorente.

*10) What is your score Prediction for Monday? *
I can see an away win 2-1. We never do well against Andy Carroll and with how bad we are at the back right now he will batter us if he gets decent service, hope I’m wrong as we badly need a win!

My Thanks to Steven for his answers and his prediction. You can find him on twitter at @StevenSOS1987 or his musing at Www.sosfanzine.com

I am happy to go along with his 2-1 win for the Hammers but would accept a draw. Merry Christmas and here’s to a great 2017. Come on you Irons!

Sean @WestHamFootball

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Talking Point

The man behind the West Ham viral video which struck a chord

I spoke to the man behind the youtube film which went viral in the last twenty four hours. West Ham fan Jonny Madderson answered my questions about the video which has struck a chord with many West Ham supporters.

SW> It is a very powerful video, can you tell me a bit about yourself and your history supporting West Ham?

JM> I’m a London-based filmmaker and have been a West Ham fan for 25 years. My older brother is also a West Ham fan. My first game was 2-0 v Oxford United in 1991 – Stuart Slater was amazing that day. Never had a season ticket, but always gone from season to season. I used to like sitting in the east stand at the Boleyn Ground.
What made you make the video?

There is a huge disconnect right now between the club and the fans. The board claim the migration has been a huge success but the fans are unhappy and feel disillusioned. That disconnect creates a negative atmosphere that spreads – you can feel it in the stands, on social media, in the press and in the pubs. This season has been one big downer! (And I haven’t even started on the football yet!)

But rather than whinging or infighting or regretting what can’t be turned back, we need to unite and move forward together – without ever forgetting what makes West Ham special.

That’s what this film is about. A sort of rallying cry to become West Ham United once more, and make this stadium a fortress.

SW> What would you like to change?

JM> The biggest hope for the video is that it starts a constructive, urgent conversation between the board and the fans that leads to positive change.

To be clear, we are not living in the past. Football is a business, we know we need to make money to keep up with the times and see good football on the pitch. The stadium move is progressive and ambitious and could be a very exciting opportunity – but it won’t be easy to pull off and the board need our help.

So far, the fans haven’t been brought along the journey and we haven’t had any input in the shape of the Club’s future. The board need to acknowledge this, drop all the bluster about the success of the move, and recognise that improvements need to be made and the fans should be integral to these changes.

One significant problem for example is the match day experience. It feels like a trip to the Excel centre right now – we need to work hard to make it feel like a trip to West Ham and the board need the fans’ help – so that it doesn’t end up being a marketing department’s vision of what a west ham match day experience is.

The film doesn’t try to solve the problems by any stretch. But hopefully it starts a conversation.

SW> How do the board become world class?

JM> It’s easy to talk a good game, but to become world class you need to deliver on it too. So when big talk about player recruitment doesn’t materialise, it feels small time. When you talk about the stadium migration as a resounding success, yet your fanbase feels more disillusioned that at any other time in recent memory, it feels small time. We are at a crossroads right now and the board need to step up their game – how they move forward will define the future of the Club.

We can’t blag this one… Let’s make sure we get it right!

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Guest Post

Fans to decide flag design for London Stadium East Stand

Guest post by Tim Hoad

West Ham season ticket holder Tim Hoad wants to create a massive flag for the London Stadium East Stand which is both designed and funded by the fans. Below Tim gives us an update on his progress so far with a chance to vote on the final flag design.

“I am been working hard on getting the designs finalised and I have put together a selection of the best 5 that have taken into consideration all of the suggestions put forward

Each design uses the original font that was used on the club badge (before it was changed) to retain the heritage, and logo wise I have stuck to the distinctive crossed hammers. They are all pretty clean and simple – claret and blue with a white logo and each flag in its own way draws on the history and culture of West Ham as we know it, and that none of us want to lose or see disappear.

The dimensions are yet to be confirmed but the plans are for this to be an absolute monster, rolling down from the back of the stand, and being carried towards pitch side at the bottom. Ideally we want it to cover the length of the stand and this will ensure that the flag makes a massive impact.

So, the online poll I have set up can be found here: https://www.surveymonkey.co.uk/r/7JN5PCF

The poll is being hosted by all of the biggest independent West Ham sites, vlogs etc so everyone will get a chance to vote. Since my last post a senior member at the club has contacted me and they will be hosting a poll directly on the official club site in conjunction with this independent one, which will allow other fans that don’t necessarily use the independent sites to vote as well.

The results in the New Year will then be added up and the design with the most votes will be added to a crowdfunding site where fans can chip in and make donations to get it made. Flags of this size can be extremely expensive but if everyone chips in a couple of quid then it’s job done. A link to the crowd funding site will be posted in due course.

Incidentally, when the club approached me they also offered to pay for the flag in full as well as a smaller one for the Bobby Moore lower. To be fair to them, they made it clear that they didn’t wanna get involved in the design or retract from it being a fan led thing, they just thought it was a good idea and wanted to support it.

The way I have played it with them is that we should try and fund it ourselves and if we fall short at all they can make up the rest, which I think they are happy to do.

So yeah, here is the link again, go and vote for the one you like the best. IRONS

Tim

https://www.surveymonkey.co.uk/r/7JN5PCF

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Opposition Q & A

Opposition Q&A with Liverpool

This week I spoke to Liverpool fan Henry Winter from ThisisAnfield.com

1) What are your expectations for Liverpool this season? Can you win the title?
At the start of the season, finishing in the top-four was very much the aim. We’ve had a superb first three months or so, though, and we’re right in the title mix. Some of the football has been as good as I’ve witnessed in 20-ish years as a fan, and Jurgen Klopp is doing special things at Anfield.
We should be going for the title, and while Chelsea are favourites I believe we can win it, but 4th place has to be seen as the worst possible finish.

2) Which three teams do you think will suffer relegation and who will lift the title this season?
My head says Chelsea will win it, with City second and Liverpool third, but my heart still says we can definitely end 26 years without a league title. As for relegation, I think it will be Hull, Swansea and Burnley. Sunderland are right in the mix, though, and unbelievably, so are Leicester.

3) How do you rate West Ham’s manager Slaven Bilic and can he survive the sack?
I rate Bilic highly, and thought he did a brilliant job last season. I don’t know a lot about what’s gone on this season, but I feel it is probably a minor blip for him, and that he’ll come good again. He is clearly making errors, but if I were a West Ham fan, I’d want to stick with him.

4) What league position can West Ham realistically achieve this season?
I’d definitely expect you to pull away from the relegation places as the season progresses, and would probably have you down to finish somewhere between 10th and 15th. I’ll predict 12th, although I’m guessing Hammers fans might not be that confident.

5) If you could have any current West Ham player in your first team who would you choose and why?
It has to be Payet doesn’t it? I’ve actually been really disappointed with his attitude when I’ve seen him in recent weeks, but in terms of talent, he is unbelievable. Klopp would get the best out of him.I really like Aaron Cresswell too, and I believe he is a boyhood Liverpool fan. We could do with a new left-back, even though James Milner has been really good there. He can’t go on forever.

6) Which Liverpool player will be key to your title hopes this season?
There’s several, to be honest. The beauty of Liverpool this season is that we aren’t hugely reliant on one player, like we have been in the past with the likes of Luis Suarez and Steven Gerrard. Philippe Coutinho is a wonderful player, and prior to his injury, I think he was the most in-form player in the Premier League. Roberto Firmino is different in style but just as important – he is my personal favourite currently – Jordan Henderson is crucial at the base of the midfield and Joel Matip was a massive miss against Bournemouth last weekend. I haven’t even mentioned Adam Lallana and Sadio Mane, who are also very influential.

7) What is Liverpool’s achilles heel? Where do they need to improve?
Much has been made about them having a weak defence, but a lot of that is a myth. In lots of games, they’ve barely allowed teams decent efforts on goal.

They are shaky from set-pieces, though, and as we saw against Bournemouth, they have an ability to fall apart as soon as they come under any sort of pressure. There seems to be a mental block there, although Klopp is making a different in that respect. Opponents will always have a chance of hitting us on the counter-attack too, but so many seem terrified to even take that risk because of leaving gaps for our attackers.

8) How do you expect Liverpool to setup against West Ham on Sunday/ Team/formation prediction?
It will be the 4-3-3 that has been such a success this season, although Coutinho is definitely out, which is obviously a big blow.

Loris Karius is under pressure to perform in goal but will keep his place; Nathaniel Clyne, Matip, Dejan Lovren and Milner will make up the back-four; Henderson, Emre Can and Adam Lallana are the likely midfield three – Georginio Wijnaldum could start if Lallana is not yet fully fit – and Mane, Firmino and Divock Origi will start in attack.

There will be the usual relentless pressing, dominance of possession and chances created, although Liverpool’s level has dipped a little in the last three or four games. If West Ham can silence Anfield in the first 20 minutes, it could get tense.

9) What is your score Prediction for Sunday?
I think Liverpool will win, but I also believe West Ham will cause them trouble at times, despite their current struggles. I reckon 3-1.

My thanks to Henry for his answers. You can follow Henry on Twitter: @HenryJackson87 and read his work at thisisanfield.com, where he is a feature writer and match reporter.

I am not optimistic than we can win a second time in two seasons at Anfield after waiting 52 years. I find it difficult to predict a loss so I will go for a 1-1 draw and gladly accept a point at Liverpool. Come On You Irons Sean @WestHamFootball on twitter

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